If there’s one thing most Canadians can relate to, it’s the seemingly endless energy bills that come with the rise and fall of seasonal temperatures. Some of our monthly utility costs, however, have nothing to do with the weather. In fact, lighting alone typically accounts for one-third of your monthly energy bill. So before you decide to move to another country, try out these lighting updates that will not only lower your monthly energy expenditures but will also reduce your carbon footprint.
Switch Up Your Light Bulbs
You can start by swapping out your current light bulbs for Energy Star certified LED bulbs. These bulbs are more energy efficient and environmentally friendly than both incandescent and fluorescent alternatives. Ninety percent of the energy used by incandescent bulbs is given off as heat, making them so inefficient that they are no longer manufactured in Canada. Although fluorescent lights are more efficient than incandescent bulbs, they contain mercury, meaning there are limited ways to dispose of them. By installing LED lights in their place, you can reduce energy expenditures by 80 percent and reduce your home’s environmental impact!
Before you make the switch, you’ll need to determine the right LED bulb for each fixture. You’ll need to consider shape, wattage, and brightness. Because LED is actually a different kind of light, it’s likely you’ll need to adjust the wattage of your bulbs when you transition. The good news is that because LED doesn’t produce heat, in most cases you can exceed the wattage maximums listed on appliance and outlet warning labels. This may seem complicated, but a seasoned electrician can walk you through the process and help install your new bulbs into pot lights and other hard-to-reach fixtures.
As the holiday season approaches, you can also consider purchasing LED outdoor string lights. Not only do these lights use 75 percent less energy than older models, but they also last 25 times longer. Double down on your savings by unplugging these lights when they’re not in use. Contact a handyman who can have your house lit up in no time at all.
Dimmer Switches & Automatic Lights
Did you know dimmer switches are good for more than just creating dinner-party ambience? They also save energy and prolong the life of your light bulbs. Though you’ll likely need the help of an electrician to transition your standard switches to dimmer switches, it is typically a quick and relatively inexpensive project to take on.
Another option to consider is installing automatic lights. Automatic lights can either run on a timer or be motion activated and can be used inside and outside the home. Automatic lights give your home a lived-in look without the added cost of keeping your lights on for a prolonged period of time. This is a great option for families who spend a significant amount of time away from home! An electrician can give an in-depth explanation of your options, guide you through the installation process, and consult on the right settings given your lifestyle.
Bonus: Automatic Power Bars
What most homeowners don’t realize is that appliances continue to use energy even when they’re turned off. This is called “phantom power.” On average, 75 percent of the total energy used by your appliances is actually phantom power, making up a decent chunk of your monthly energy bill. A simple solution is to purchase automatic power bars for areas of the home that contain a number of appliances, like the kitchen or bathroom. These bars will turn off automatically overnight and during working hours.
Windows and Curtains
Another way to reduce your monthly energy expenditures is to capitalize on natural light. Large windows and skylights with the right blinds and curtains can be used to effectively control not only the brightness of your home but also the temperature. In addition to saving money, natural light has a number of benefits. Natural light is linked to higher productivity, improvements in mood and sleep cycles, and of course provides much-needed vitamin D. Consult with a windows and doors expert to see how you can improve the amount of natural light in your home.
Together these small updates add up to huge monthly savings. If you’re looking for other ways to reduce your home’s carbon footprint, hire an electrician to conduct an energy audit. Through this process, you can uncover dozens of ways to improve your home’s efficiency. Keep in mind, with each improvement comes decades of savings. Contact a pro now and enjoy saving on your next energy bill.
Article updated October 4, 2019.